Former TheStreet editor settles SEC insider trading case

June 10 Tue Jun 10, 2014 8:22pm EDT

June 10 (Reuters) - A former senior editor at TheStreet Inc has agreed to pay $10,225 to resolve claims he participated in an insider trading ring involving a group of high school friends, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said Tuesday.

The SEC's case against Michael Baron, 43, followed a related criminal prosecution of six other men involved in an insider trading scheme focused on pharmaceutical and medical technology stocks.

Baron was never criminally charged. But in a civil lawsuit filed in New Jersey on Tuesday, the SEC said Baron provided a relative illegal tips about Celgene Corp's 2007 acquisition of Pharmion Corp and Stryker Corp's tender offer for Orthovita Inc in 2011.

The unnamed relative traded on the information and made more than $6,500 in ill-gotten gains, the SEC said.

The SEC said the tip about the Celgene-Pharmion deal came from John Lazorchak, at the time an employee in Celgene's financial reporting department and a high school friend of Baron's.

The tip about Stryker's offer, meanwhile, came from Mark Foldy, an employee in its marketing department who likewise attended high school with Baron, the SEC said.

The SEC does not in its lawsuit name TheStreet, saying only that Baron, a Belford, New Jersey, resident, was a "former senior editor at a financial publication." His employment had previously been reported by The Wall Street Journal.

Representatives for Baron and the TheStreet did not respond to a request for comment.

Lazorchak was sentenced in April to 1-1/3 years in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy and securities fraud charges.

Foldy that same month was sentenced to two years supervised release, with six months of home confinement, after pleading guilty to conspiracy and securities fraud charges.

Four other men also pleaded guilty in the criminal case, and the SEC charged an eighth man civilly as well.

Among those to plead guilty were Lawrence Grum and Michael Castelli, the two main traders in the case. Grum was sentenced in April to one year and one day in prison, while Castelli, a high school classmate, received nine months.

The case is Securities and Exchange Commission v. Baron, U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey, No. 14-3699. (Reporting by Nate Raymond in New York; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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